The report by Yash Mishra
The internet is full of webinars since the lockdown. Out of all the Department of Media Sciences of Anna University College of Engineering organized an excellent webinar for film scholars and lovers. The guest speaker was Uma Vangal, a well-known filmmaker and a film critic. The topic was around “Cinema Speak: Decoding film texts”.
She started the session with a brief input on how cinema has broadened its horizon over different cultures over the years of existence. She pointed out how it is a very wrong assumption to break the world of cinema into Bollywood, Hollywood, or Tollywood. According to her observation, each and every cinema has grown side by side in its own horizon and made a greater impact on the life of the audience consuming the art form.
Then she started discussing in a bit detail about the various cultural implications that one goes through as an audience without noticing. These differences and details make films more relevant to a certain audience than others. To make it more clear, she pointed out the fact that a Tamil movie being watched in Bihar or West Bengal and enjoyed by the viewers because of the relatability of the film across the country. Then the discussion moved ahead with pointing out the importance of story, script, and screenplay. According to her analysis, the story sets the core narrative of the filmmaker, it gives an outline of what he/she wants to convey through the medium. The script is a more technical aspect when the story is laid down part-by-part in a structured format. Lastly, the screenplay revolves more around the communication of the film. In this phase, the filmmaker decides how he wants to communicate the story to the audience. This phase is much influenced by the taste, culture, believes, and background of the audience.
A comparison of the genre was discussed while pointing out its importance. She makes an observation about how Indian Cinema followed the concept “Masala Movie” or “Navarasa” which means adding 6 to 7 genres in a single film. Whereas, in Hollywood, filmmakers never mixed more than 3 genres in a particular film. Indian Cinema was due to the diversity of audience used to follow this method. It believed in the philosophy of “Something for everyone”. According to her, ‘Filmmaking cannot be taught, but can be learnt’. It is an experience one needs to go through to understand and get better each and every day.
A brief was given on the forms of Film analysis. She pointed out six forms which are: Semiology, Psychology, Sociology, Cultural Studies, Transitional Studies and Critical Studies. All these aspects can be used to develop a critic on a particular scene.